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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > Why is an oil cooler important and why upgrade to a larger oil cooler?



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      12-04-2008, 11:09 PM   #1
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Why is an oil cooler important and why upgrade to a larger oil cooler?

Why is an oil cooler important

This question has been the most emailed/private message question I receive so I decided to answer that question with this post. The n54 has two primary cooling systems. The first is the engine’s radiator coolant system which cools the top of the engine. I will go into that in more detail when we release our twin core radiator system.

The rest of the engine’s internal components are cooled by engine oil, these internal components include pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, bearings, camshaft, lifters, and those tiny turbos.

Engine oils job is not only to cool these components but also to lubricate and cleanse them. In order for engine oil to perform well it has to be kept within a certain operating range. BMW has installed a thermostat to monitor and regulate the oil temps. When the engine oil is below the optimal range the thermostat stays closed allowing the engine to warm up the engine oil quickly. On the alternative side if the engine oil becomes too hot, the thermostat opens a valve to allow engine oil into the cars oil cooler (if you have one) The oil cooler then cools down the oil and is then recirculated back into the motor.

Why upgrade to a larger oil cooler?

At stock power levels the n54’s ability to keep its oil temperatures in check are marginal. Even in cool weather and some “spirited driving,” it isn’t difficult to get the oil temps to go well above 250 degrees Fahrenheit. If you Google, the words “n54 and Limp mode.” The number one reason for the n54 to go into limp mode is oil coolers inability to keep the oil temps within optimal range (fuel pump issues seem to be closing the gap!). A larger oil cooler will help you enjoy your car without the fear of oil temp induced limp mode. Your engine will also perform better and last longer and so will those cute little turbos.

Here is a great bit of news, we have reduced the price to only $695 for the holidays!
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      12-05-2008, 06:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Vince@ V K Motorwerks View Post
Why is an oil cooler important

This question has been the most emailed/private message question I receive so I decided to answer that question with this post. The n54 has two primary cooling systems. The first is the engine’s radiator coolant system which cools the top of the engine. I will go into that in more detail when we release our twin core radiator system.

The rest of the engine’s internal components are cooled by engine oil, these internal components include pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, bearings, camshaft, lifters, and those tiny turbos.

Engine oils job is not only to cool these components but also to lubricate and cleanse them. In order for engine oil to perform well it has to be kept within a certain operating range. BMW has installed a thermostat to monitor and regulate the oil temps. When the engine oil is below the optimal range the thermostat stays closed allowing the engine to warm up the engine oil quickly. On the alternative side if the engine oil becomes too hot, the thermostat opens a valve to allow engine oil into the cars oil cooler (if you have one) The oil cooler then cools down the oil and is then recirculated back into the motor.

Why upgrade to a larger oil cooler?

At stock power levels the n54’s ability to keep its oil temperatures in check are marginal. Even in cool weather and some “spirited driving,” it isn’t difficult to get the oil temps to go well above 250 degrees Fahrenheit. If you Google, the words “n54 and Limp mode.” The number one reason for the n54 to go into limp mode is oil coolers inability to keep the oil temps within optimal range (fuel pump issues seem to be closing the gap!). A larger oil cooler will help you enjoy your car without the fear of oil temp induced limp mode. Your engine will also perform better and last longer and so will those cute little turbos.

Here is a great bit of news, we have reduced the price to only $695 for the holidays!
Point is: having bought a pre-owned 335i E92 which is a September 2006 I don't have an oil cooler.
Which is ok most of the time since 90% of the utilization of the car is on the highway, where I just stretch my legs every now and then and that's it.
What I think (let's say I almost "know") is that if I take my 335i to the track in a not even hot summer temperature, it would just take a very few laps to get the oil temperature to a point where the car gives you a "stop", gets into an inducted limp, and puts me out of the track until it cools down.
Which is ok, since this is done to avoid damages to the N54.
My question is this: can an oil cooler, the largest possible, be fitted into a 335i E92 which doesn't have one?

Thanks
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      12-05-2008, 06:58 AM   #3
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My oil temps with an oil cooler usually hover around 240 sometimes 250 while I am stuck in traffic... with an upgraded oil cooler, what temps will I be seeing during daily driving and traffic?
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      12-05-2008, 07:18 AM   #4
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would be nice to see a compairason of oil temps with and without the upgrade of the oil cooler. For spirited driving in the sommer i have seen highest 120 Celsius which should be around 240/250 . (i have the OEM oil cooler)
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      12-05-2008, 07:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by enrita View Post
would be nice to see a compairason of oil temps with and without the upgrade of the oil cooler. For spirited driving in the sommer i have seen highest 120 Celsius which should be around 240/250 . (i have the OEM oil cooler)
Last summer, with air temperature of 33 Celsius (in Italy) the average oil temperature was 120 Celsius just cruising, if pushing they climbed up to 130/132 easily before I lift my right foot. I have no oil cooler, with such temperature I can't even think to take it to the track, and it's not "so much better" if I take it to the track with 23 Celsius instead of 33, I bet my lunch it would only take few additional laps to go into an oil temperature limp no matter what
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      12-05-2008, 08:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andras View Post
Point is: having bought a pre-owned 335i E92 which is a September 2006 I don't have an oil cooler.
Which is ok most of the time since 90% of the utilization of the car is on the highway, where I just stretch my legs every now and then and that's it.
What I think (let's say I almost "know") is that if I take my 335i to the track in a not even hot summer temperature, it would just take a very few laps to get the oil temperature to a point where the car gives you a "stop", gets into an inducted limp, and puts me out of the track until it cools down.
Which is ok, since this is done to avoid damages to the N54.
My question is this: can an oil cooler, the largest possible, be fitted into a 335i E92 which doesn't have one?

Thanks
It is possible to do that. However it does require you to remove your intake manifold so that you can gain access to all the bolts that hold down the oil filter housing. You also have to change the oil filter housing with one that will allow the OEM thermostat to be fitted onto it. Other then that the rest of the install is pretty much the same except your not having to obviously remove the OEM oil cooler and lines. Our price for the full kit is $1500 usd. If your interested please shoot me a PM.

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      12-05-2008, 08:41 AM   #7
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Last summer, with air temperature of 33 Celsius (in Italy) the average oil temperature was 120 Celsius just cruising, if pushing they climbed up to 130/132 easily before I lift my right foot. I have no oil cooler, with such temperature I can't even think to take it to the track, and it's not "so much better" if I take it to the track with 23 Celsius instead of 33, I bet my lunch it would only take few additional laps to go into an oil temperature limp no matter what
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      12-05-2008, 09:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rdsport323 View Post
My oil temps with an oil cooler usually hover around 240 sometimes 250 while I am stuck in traffic... with an upgraded oil cooler, what temps will I be seeing during daily driving and traffic?
With normal driving the temps I see are between 210-230f (regardless of outside temps) on the track the highest I get it up to after 20min session is 260'ish.


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Originally Posted by enrita View Post
would be nice to see a compairason of oil temps with and without the upgrade of the oil cooler. For spirited driving in the sommer i have seen highest 120 Celsius which should be around 240/250 . (i have the OEM oil cooler)
I would love to post up a video, however, its too late for me since we are now sitting in 3 inches of snow!

However if you purchased the VK OC or know someone who did and is interested in doing a video shoot, please send me a PM.
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      12-05-2008, 09:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enrita View Post
would be nice to see a compairason of oil temps with and without the upgrade of the oil cooler. For spirited driving in the sommer i have seen highest 120 Celsius which should be around 240/250 . (i have the OEM oil cooler)
With moderate spirited driving, my oil temp sits around 240-245.

Sitting in traffic, my oil temp hits 250.

Without airflow, I don't thing it matters how big your oil cooler or even intercooler is.

It's obvious that BMW did not design these cars for sustained track use.

But I don't track my car, so this is just commentary for daily driving circumstances.

I would be curious to know what oil temp normally aspirated cars experience in comparison.

Cooler is probably always better, unless there is an optimal temperature built in by design.
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      12-05-2008, 10:05 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ilma View Post
With moderate spirited driving, my oil temp sits around 240-245.

Sitting in traffic, my oil temp hits 250.

Without airflow, I don't thing it matters how big your oil cooler or even intercooler is.

It's obvious that BMW did not design these cars for sustained track use.

But I don't track my car, so this is just commentary for daily driving circumstances.

I would be curious to know what oil temp normally aspirated cars experience in comparison.

Cooler is probably always better, unless there is an optimal temperature built in by design.

Turbo cars generally run hotter then N/A cars by design since the exhaust gases are recirculated and also the oil is not just heated up by the engine but by the turbos as well. As for the optimal temperature range BMW leaves quite a bit open. From our research the thermostat seems to be partially open at 210 and is fully open by 230. However, once open the factory failsafe doesn’t kick in until slightly above 300f.

Most people will not use their cars for track use. However, they are not keeping this car stock either. They are modifying it to be a better performance car. Therefore, its just a important to maintain the car like a performance car with more frequent oil changes, spark plug replacements, tires replacement...and have supplement mods such as better sway bars, lsd, brakes, oil cooler, IC,... for the car and their own safety.

One more thing to remember its well documented that even a stock car equipped with a OEM OC it is possible to over hear the oil. BMW only warranties these cars for 50k miles, after that, any mechanical failure is your problem.
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      12-05-2008, 10:18 AM   #11
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my car didn't come with an oil cooler so if i want to get one i need to spend $1500?
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      12-05-2008, 10:28 AM   #12
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my car didn't come with an oil cooler so if i want to get one i need to spend $1500?
Yes. You could spend $2300 and get a Dinan.

One more thing, the full oil cooler install is NOT a DIY.
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      12-05-2008, 10:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince@ V K Motorwerks View Post
Yes. You could spend $2300 and get a Dinan.

One more thing, the full oil cooler install is NOT a DIY.
For those of us that have the extra factory oil cooler in there, how bad is the DIY for the 'smaller kit' ?? I had heard it was a pain, but maybe those people were referring to the full one ?
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      12-05-2008, 10:47 AM   #14
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For those of us that have the extra factory oil cooler in there, how bad is the DIY for the 'smaller kit' ?? I had heard it was a pain, but maybe those people were referring to the full one ?
For the upgrade kit it can be done as a DIY, however, you need the right tools and have to know what your doing. Definitely not for a beginner. A regular shop should have no issue putting it on within a few hours.
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      12-05-2008, 11:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince@ V K Motorwerks View Post
Yes. You could spend $2300 and get a Dinan.

One more thing, the full oil cooler install is NOT a DIY.
WHy do you say this?
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      12-05-2008, 11:15 AM   #16
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Looks nice. I'm saving up for my cp-e exhaust, but after that I'll be getting an oil cooler upgrade.
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      12-05-2008, 11:38 AM   #17
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WHy do you say this?
The full kit requires you to remove your intake manifold, you have gaskets there that have to then be replaced (included in the kit) The oil filter housing has to be changed, the new thermostat has to be added to the new oil filter housing which has to be sealed properly, a new oil cooler braket has to be installed as well. I hope you understand why im saying its not a DIY. Just pay a professional to do the job and be done with it. I really dont see how BMW would have an issue with an oil cooler since all its doing is helping keep the engine oil cool (a very good thing!) and its still controlled by their thermostat (another good thing!)
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      12-05-2008, 12:02 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Vince@ V K Motorwerks View Post
The full kit requires you to remove your intake manifold, you have gaskets there that have to then be replaced (included in the kit) The oil filter housing has to be changed, the new thermostat has to be added to the new oil filter housing which has to be sealed properly, a new oil cooler braket has to be installed as well. I hope you understand why im saying its not a DIY. Just pay a professional to do the job and be done with it. I really dont see how BMW would have an issue with an oil cooler since all its doing is helping keep the engine oil cool (a very good thing!) and its still controlled by their thermostat (another good thing!)
So someone with a great deal of mechanical knowledge, technical know how, and all the right tools could "do it themselves"? are there any parts that need to be machined or fabricated? or is it mostly just bolting on parts and using proper torques and gaskets to make sure things are sealed properly?

Thanks, Nate
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      12-05-2008, 12:33 PM   #19
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So someone with a great deal of mechanical knowledge, technical know how, and all the right tools could "do it themselves"? are there any parts that need to be machined or fabricated? or is it mostly just bolting on parts and using proper torques and gaskets to make sure things are sealed properly?

Thanks, Nate
Its all bolt on. We give you the factory gaskets, oil filter housing, OC braket, and thermostat, and all the other parts you need. So yes Technically it could be a DIY.
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      12-05-2008, 01:00 PM   #20
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I have a complaint with Vince @ VKMotorwerks!

I ran on the track back in September at the Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) with the stock oil cooler. I had the JB3 tune set to low-boost mode. It was easy to get the car to overheat and go into limp mode if I drove aggressively. The oil temp gauge hit 290+.

Because of this experience, I bought and installed the VK Motorwerks Oil Cooler in October. In November I ran with Speedventures.com, again at the Auto Club Speedway. Oil temperatures never climbed above 265 in JB3 low-boost mode, even with aggressive driving. So I set the JB3 to high-boost mode. I saw the temps hit about 275 at times, but I never went into limp mode.

So rather than worrying about the engine overheating, I have a different worry now... brakes! Since the engine lets me drive aggressively without the engine overheating, I'm starting to cook my brakes! I blame Vince @ VKMotorwerks for my new problem!
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      12-05-2008, 01:04 PM   #21
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I have a complaint with Vince @ VKMotorwerks!

I ran on the track back in September at the Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) with the stock oil cooler. I had the JB3 tune set to low-boost mode. It was easy to get the car to overheat and go into limp mode if I drove aggressively. The oil temp gauge hit 290+.

Because of this experience, I bought and installed the VK Motorwerks Oil Cooler in October. In November I ran with Speedventures.com, again at the Auto Club Speedway. Oil temperatures never climbed above 265 in JB3 low-boost mode, even with aggressive driving. So I set the JB3 to high-boost mode. I saw the temps hit about 275 at times, but I never went into limp mode.

So rather than worrying about the engine overheating, I have a different worry now... brakes! Since the engine lets me drive aggressively without the engine overheating, I'm starting to cook my brakes! I blame Vince @ VKMotorwerks for my new problem!
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      12-05-2008, 01:07 PM   #22
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I tracked my car in November. It was in the 70's during the day and I have a Dinan Oil Cooler. It worked fine actually. I never got above 253 or so.
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